On the public holiday in memory of Queen Elizabeth II my wife and I took a walk in Bottle Forest in our local Royal National Park at Heathcote. My wife had been tipped off about an amazing array of Waratah flowers there, one of the legacies of our recent abundant rainfall. The Waratah shrub (which is from the aboriginal word Warada meaning beautiful red flower) is endemic to south eastern Australia and is the floral emblem of our state NSW. It is also seen on the NSW State Government logo. The botanic name is Telopea speciosissima where Telopea means seen from afar. It is from the Proteaceae family. We were not disappointed, and you will see why when you view this brief video from my phone.

Here are some more photos of this beautiful bright flower. You will notice this forest has been previously ravaged by fire. This happened during the many fires that broke out during the terrible heat waves and drought a few years ago, where 100 fires burnt at the one time and smoke was a daily experience for months, driving many birds away. However, the Australian bush is very resilient and soon recovers.

While it was a dull day and raining on and off, we did not see many birds. But we did see one bird which is prevalent here this time of year because of the flowering presence of our native Mountain Devil flower and Banksia. Other spring flowers were also blooming. The Eastern Spinebill has a long beak capable of reaching deep into tubular flowers, giving it preference over other honeyeaters with these flowers.

The only other bird we saw was this little White-browed Scrubwren who was making good use of the puddles for bathing and drinking. We watched from afar as it came in and out of the water in great speed, as this bird is known for its extremely fast movements. Another good reason to have a birdbath in your backyard.

It was lovely seeing so many families bring their children to see this natural wonder. One child was counting each flower they saw and were already up to one hundred. These flowers used to be one of the most prized and stolen flowers from the national parks. It was good to see they were still here. Here are some of the other Spring flowers in bloom in the park.

In a few years this park will also be aglow with the beautiful Gymea Lily, as many plants arose as a result of the fires. This is also a huge red flower-head which rises on a long woody stem. Here is one flowering from another part of this park.

Gymea Lily Flower

We had a most enjoyable experience, and as we were leaving, the rain started increasing in intensity, and we were graciously granted escape before the downpour.

Have a wonderful week enjoying these changing seasons and bird migrations which ever part of the world you are in. We are enjoying the Spring, though it is still very wet here as thunderstorms are becoming our new norm for this season. If this is your first time visiting my blog, take a few minutes to check out my website topics which may assist you in birding and life, as we can learn much from the behaviour of our birds. Click on the image below to discover a unique Christmas or birthday gift for your loved one or two…

The Waratah flower is a symbol of strength, courage, healing and support, especially for those who have lost and are grieving a spouse or loved one. The essence from this flower is known to help people going through the dark night of the soul. This is one of the topics covered in my book Flight of a Fledgling, as grief in any form is something we all need to navigate safely at some point in our lives. Some get stuck in their grief and suffer depression and emotional and physical illness as a result. This is not healthy and grief counselling may be needed. My book offers helpful suggestions so one can understand that grief has an important function, and that it can vary in time for each individual to resolve. This book deals with many of the issues one faces in life and is a great help to younger and older adults alike, as recent sales and feedback have shown. Please be aware that none of my current books are religious in content but are suggestions offered from a qualified Family Counsellor, using our Australian birds to assist in a non confrontational, non judgmental presentation. I do not apologize for my faith in God and the importance it is for a stable, joyful, peaceful, healthy life. Jesus is a solid stable rock to those feeling the grief of loss.

 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” – Psalm 18:2

“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” – Psalm 9:9

If you would like to know more about how we can learn about life from our birds, and have a faith in Jesus click here.

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To introduce people to our amazing Australian Birds

To learn from them better ways of living a healthy happy life

Adv. Dip. of Counselling and Family Therapy

© W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023


  1. There is something about Waratah that always says Sydney to me. A great time of year to be in the bush or a featured garden.
    Smiled at the White-browed Scrubwren activity. We have seen the first young ones for the season so they are of to an early start to beat the Fantail Cuckoos, that regularly parasite them

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, it is a highlight in our bush here and on the Central Coast nearby where I grew up. I remember my parents getting fined by a Ranger for c taking a bunch of them from a park when I was a very young boy. They cut out and kept the newspaper clipping of the offence. That’s why I was delighted to see so many intact and glowing in the bush against the green, even in low light they glowed from afar.
      Yes the Scrubby is such a cutie and I can’t get over how fast their movements are. It is astounding trying to slow down video on them and trying to capture stills while they are on the scavenge. Yes I have just started hearing the Koels calling, and have read reports of Channel-bills being in Sydney already, so it is good the Scrubbies have had an early start from the other Cuckoos. We just had a whole night of roaring thunder and wet weather. It is not only the Covid that has changed our lifestyle, but the weather also, as out walking trails have not recovered for months.


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